Personal Computers


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Personal Computers

  1. 1. A Project for<br />Product Development & Brand Management<br />On<br />Product Life cycle<br />Of<br />Desktop PC’s<br />By Group1<br />A.V.Suuresh-9040<br />Mithun Kumar Patnaik-9082<br />R.Dinesh-9062<br />G.Abhinay-9075<br />K.L.Tharun<br />Malathi Dandu-9061<br />Nandita Sadani-90<br />Introduction to PLC:<br />The Product Life Cycle (PLC) is based upon the biological life cycle. For example, a seed is planted (introduction); it begins to sprout (growth); it shoots out leaves and puts down roots as it becomes an adult (maturity); after a long period as an adult the plant begins to shrink and die out (decline).<br />In theory it's the same for a product. After a period of development it is introduced or launched into the market; it gains more and more customers as it grows; eventually the market stabilizes and the product becomes mature; then after a period of time the product is overtaken by development and the introduction of superior competitors, it goes into decline and is eventually withdrawn.<br />However, most products fail in the introduction phase. Others have very cyclical maturity phases where declines see the product promoted to regain customers.<br />Strategies for the differing stages of the Product Life Cycle.<br />Introduction.<br />The need for immediate profit is not a pressure. The product is promoted to create awareness. If the product has no or few competitors, a skimming price strategy is employed. Limited numbers of product are available in few channels of distribution.<br />Growth.<br />Competitors are attracted into the market with very similar offerings. Products become more profitable and companies form alliances, joint ventures and take each other over. Advertising spend is high and focuses upon building brand. Market share tends to stabilise.<br />Maturity.<br />Those products that survive the earlier stages tend to spend longest in this phase. Sales grow at a decreasing rate and then stabilise. Producers attempt to differentiate products and brands are key to this. Price wars and intense competition occur. At this point the market reaches saturation. Producers begin to leave the market due to poor margins. Promotion becomes more widespread and uses a greater variety of media.<br />Decline.<br />30670501271270At this point there is a downturn in the market. For example more innovative products are introduced or consumer tastes have changed. There is intense price-cutting and many more products are withdrawn from the market. Profits can be improved by reducing marketing spend and cost cutting.<br /><ul><li>Introduction stage</li></ul>Introduction Stage of Desktop Pc’s<br />Components of desktop pc:-<br />• Case - The box all the parts (except monitor, keyboard, mouse, and printer) are stored in <br />• Mother Board - The main printed circuit board in the computer, which the CPU (see below) plugs into <br />• CPU (Central Processing Unit) – The CPU is the actual "brains" of the computer <br />RAM (Random Access Memory) - Like pieces of scratch paper that information is temporarily stored on ONLY WHILE you are actually working on the computer. <br />• Disk Controller – The Disk Controller allows your computer to interact with your disk drive storage devices <br />• Hard Disk Drive - A STORAGE device, NOT MEMORY! The Hard Disk Drive is like a filing cabinet - no more, no less. Retrieval is faster, and finding things is usually easier, but it is still just a filing cabinet. <br />• Video Display Adapter - Unlike your eyes, it can ONLY OUTPUT the computer information in the form of a video signal that is human readable (via the monitor). <br />• Monitor - The actual display you see the words, pictures, and data on. There are two main types: analog and digital. <br />• Input Device - Keyboard, Mouse, Digitizer, Scanner, Pen, Digital Camera, etc. <br />• Modem - A device that hooks your computer up to the telephone line <br />The first desktop computer kit, an Altair, which retailed for slightly less than $400, was sold in 1974 by Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems (MITS). Originally, desktop computers originally were just kits: Nothing assembled was sold until the 1980s. Even Steve Jobs's and Steve Wozniak's 1976 Apple I was a kit, the prototype for which was assembled in Jobs's garage. The first assembled desktop computers were very expensive for the little that they did and ran on BASIC language, which the owner had to program. Only a few of them had any disk systems since mainly, the data was loaded from tape. The first home computers had programs and data loaded from a cassette tape machine. One of these was the RadioShack TRS-80, which was sold in two versions in 1984. The price was $799 for 8KB version, and $1134 for the 32KB version. A floppy drive for this was around $400 more, but that came later.The first desktop computer that became the pattern for the current home computer was the IBM PC Junior, which sold for $669 and $1,269. Half a million were sold. From this design, there were many imitations, which manufacturers shamelessly sold as "IBM PC Clones." In fact, the operating system for this prototype was bought by Microsoft from the Seattle Computing company and licensed for use by IBM. The relationship lasted for several years and is the basis for the early profits of the Microsoft Corporation. However, the licensing agreement was terminated in 1993 with the advent of Microsoft MS-DOS version 6, which brought more functionality to the operating system. Around the same time, there were many IBM PC Clones. Before this came the "Superbrain," a desktop computer running on Digital Research's CP/M, a forerunner to MS-DOS, which had two five-inch drives and was being used in commercial institutions. There were 2X Z80A microprocessors which ran at four MHz. The floppy discs would run 2x170 KB single or double-sided, but the double-sided version cost $800 more than the $4,200 price tag. Amazingly, a 10 Mb hard disk could also be used in this machine.During the late 1980s and early 1990s, commercial systems being developed by large commercial institutions like IBM had smaller floppy disks in them (3½ inch). Around the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, some large manufacturers, like IBM and a company called Amstrad in Great Britain, produced the beginnings of commercial computers that ran on MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System). The first of these worked with two 5¼-inch floppy drives. One would load the operating system and the other would be used for programs and data. The early 5¼-inch drives had a capacity of 360 kilobytes and this didn't improve until the capacity quadrupled with the AT system. Then, 5¼-inch drives had 1.2 Mbytes and 3½ inch drives went from 720 kbytes to 1.44 Mbytes.<br />Example:<br />Non-IBM personal computers were available as early as the mid-1970s, first as do-it-yourself kits and then as off-the-shelf products. They offered a few applications but none that justified widespread use. <br />Drawing on its pioneering SCAMP (Special Computer, APL Machine Portable) prototype of 1973, IBM's General Systems Division announced the IBM 5100 Portable Computer in September 1975. Weighing approximately 50 pounds, the 5100 desktop computer was comparable to the IBM 1130 in storage capacity and performance but almost as small and easy to use as an IBM Selectric Typewriter. It was followed by similar small computers such as the IBM 5110 and 5120.<br />IBM's own Personal Computer (IBM 5150) was introduced in August 1981, only a year after corporate executives gave the go-ahead to Bill Lowe, the lab director in the company's Boca Raton, Fla., facilities. He set up a task force that developed the proposal for the first IBM PC. Early studies had concluded that there were not enough applications to justify acceptance on a broad basis and the task force was fighting the idea that things couldn't be done quickly in IBM. One analyst was quoted as saying that "IBM bringing out a personal computer would be like teaching an elephant to tap dance." During a meeting with top executives in New York, Lowe claimed his group could develop a small, new computer within a year. The response: "You're on. Come back in two weeks with a proposal."<br />Lowe picked a group of 12 strategists who worked around the clock to hammer out a plan for hardware, software, manufacturing setup and sales strategy. It was so well-conceived that the basic strategy remained unaltered throughout the product cycle.<br />Don Estridge, acting lab director at the time, volunteered to head the project. Joe Bauman, plant manager for the Boca Raton site, offered manufacturing help. Mel Hallerman, who was working on the IBM Series/1, stepped forward with his software knowledge and was brought in as chief programmer. And so it went. As word spread about what was going on, talent and expertise were drawn in Estridge decided early that to be successful and to meet deadlines, the group had to stick to the plan: using tested vendor technology; a standardized, one-model product; open architecture; and outside sales channels for quick consumer market saturation.<br />About a dozen people made up the first development team, recalls Dave Bradley, who wrote the interface code for the new product. "For a month, we met every morning to hash out what it was this machine had to do and then in the afternoons worked on the morning's decisions. We started to build a prototype to take — by the end of the year — to a then little-known company called Microsoft." The team beat that deadline. The engineers were virtually finished with the machine by April 1981, when the manufacturing team took over. The manufacturing strategy was to simplify everything, devise a sound plan and not deviate. There was not time to develop and test all components. So they shopped for completely functioning and pretested subassemblies put them together and tested the final product. Zero defects was part of the plan.<br />In sum, the development team broke all the rules. They went outside the traditional boundaries of product development within IBM. They went to outside vendors for most of the parts, went to outside software developers for the operating system and application software, and acted as an independent business unit. Those tactics enabled them to develop and announce the IBM PC in 12 months -- at that time faster than any other hardware product in IBM's history.<br />On August 12, 1981, at a press conference at the Waldorf Astoria ballroom in New York City, Estridge announced the IBM Personal Computer with a price tag of $1,565. Two decades earlier, an IBM computer often cost as much as $9 million and required an air-conditioned quarter-acre of space and a staff of 60 people to keep it fully loaded with instructions. The new IBM PC could not only process information faster than those earlier machines but it could hook up to the home TV set, play games, process text and harbor more words than a fat cookbook.<br />The $1,565 price bought a system unit, a keyboard and a color/graphics capability. Options included a display, a printer, two diskette drives, extra memory, communications, game adapter and application packages — including one for text processing. The development team referred to their creation as a mini-compact, at a mini-price, with IBM engineering under the hood.<br />The system unit was powered by an Intel 8088 microprocessor operating at speeds measured in millionths of a second. It was the size of a portable typewriter and contained 40K of read-only memory and 16K of user memory, as well as a built-in speaker for generating music. Its five expansion slots could be used to connect such features as expanded memory, display and printing units and game "paddles." The unit also ran self-diagnostic checks. Containing 83 keys, the keyboard was connected to the unit by a six-foot coiled cable, which meant users could rest it in their lap or on the desktop without moving the rest of the system. It also included such advanced functions for the times as a numeric keypad and 10 special keys that enabled users to write and edit text, figure accounts and store data.<br />Options included:<br />A printer that could print in two directions at 80 characters per second in 12 different character styles, and also check itself for malfunctions and provide an out-of-paper signal.<br />A color/graphics monitor with 16 foreground and background colors and 256 characters for text applications. Its graphics were in four colors.<br />Multiple 32K and 64K memory cards that could be plugged into the option slots to increase memory to 256K.<br />Needing new channels to distribute these new computers, IBM turned to ComputerLand; Sears, Roebuck and Co.; and IBM Product Centers to make the IBM PC available to the broadest set of customers.<br />The response to the announcement was overwhelming. One dealer had 22 customers come in and put down $1,000 deposits on the machines for which he could not promise a delivery date. By the end of 1982, qualified retail outfits were signing on to sell the new machine at the rate of one-a-day as sales actually hit a system-a-minute every business day. Newsweek magazine called it "IBM's roaring success," and the New York Times said, "The speed and extent to which IBM has been successful has surprised many people, including IBM itself."<br /><ul><li>Growth Stage</li></ul>Again, around the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, higher-end computers had a hard drive of ten megabytes and, consequently, the system would start from the hard drive. Eventually, floppy drives of 5¼ -inch (which really were "floppy" and able to bend backward and forward) would be replaced by more rigid 3½ inch drives with higher capacity. Screen Resolutions, Monitors and Core Processors. <br />Screens went from low resolution "green"and plasma yellow screens to color VGA and SVGA (Super Video Graphics Array.) The computers of today have multiple monitors, ergonomic small flat panels (which replaced the CRT "boxes" that were in common use until the early 2000s), and machines capable of gaming and multi-media with video-editing. Desktops are also capable of projecting high-speed movement on to a massive 42-inch plasma screen with high definition and resolution. The 2006 holiday season brought the end of the CRT monitor and the advent of flat panel screens. Later on, larger end-users such as government and industry started to replace the screens that were used in offices.Meanwhile, the Intel 8086 and 8088 CPUs of the early 1990s went to the 80286, 80386, and 80486 chips and then Pentium chips in the 2000s running at MHz speeds. In the early 2000s, the Intel Prescott, and other Intel chips and competitive AMD chips came along with exponentially more functionality into the GHz range, and have as many as four cores operating in harmony or separately from each other.<br />Storage <br />From minuscule storage of 10 Mbytes at the beginning to massive storage now where entry-level internal hard drives of half-terabyte are being shipped, there has been much in between. Massive improvements not only in speed and capacity, but also in resilience to damage and reliability of performance have been made along with a real change in the use of storage. Disk arrays are no longer just for business users, but fairly commonplace for serious home enthusiasts. Since hard drives have come down in price, an entry level drive can be bought for less than $100.<br />When desktops first hit the scene, only enthusiasts had a computer at home and few commercial businesses used computers to perform the computing operations which are seen in common usage today. Computers were programmed in BASIC (Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) to do long, complex mathematical and other calculations for scientific research. They were used for creating any kind of documents, and spreadsheets had barely been invented, so they were not yet being used for computer accounting. Software is now written for 64 bit operating systems, a far cry from the 4 and 8 bit systems before MS-DOS came along. Prior to the inception of Dell, computers were sold indirectly. Electronics stores purchased them and resold them to customers, which meant that people might not be getting a computer with the exact configuration they wanted, and they might be buying them from salespeople who were less than knowledgeable. Michael Dell's idea was to build computers to order, and sell them directly to his customers. While still a college student, he used $1,000 to put his idea into action. In the beginning, Dell built computers from off-the-shelf parts and sold them from his college dorm room.<br />First Original Design<br />Using the money earned from his initial sales, along with some help from his family, Dell created his first original computer design in 1985. This computer was dubbed the Turbo PC, and it featured an 8 MHz Intel 8088 processor. Today, one of these computers resides in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The Turbo PC met with great success, and by 1988, Dell was able to take his company public, securing $30 million in funding.<br />Maturity Stage<br />5422906985<br />After almost a quarter of a century as the personal computing device of choice for business, the desktop PC is sliding off its pedestal. It has withstood assaults by technologies such as the Windows terminal, the Web and the network PC, but the mighty desktop has been humbled by user demand for the one thing it can't deliver -- mobility. The laptop, once a corporate status symbol, has already gained acceptance as a mainstream device. Now laptops are poised for a corporate takeover as enterprise use widens beyond its traditional constituents: traveling executives and other "road warriors." The movement away from desktops has been under way for some time. Business use of laptops has risen from an average of one in every five PC users in 1999 to one in three today. That figure will pass the 50% mark in the next few years, according to IDC. "When I first joined this organization in 2000, laptops were a novelty," says Jerry Polcari, director of IT at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Inc. in Wellesley, Mass. At the time, just 2% to 3% of the health insurer's 1,800 PC users had laptops, he says. "Now it's 54%. Any part of the workforce that's mobile or that does any kind of analytical work has a laptop," he says. Harvard Pilgrim is ahead of the curve, but not too far out front. For several years, laptop sales have grown at twice the rate of desktop sales. "Last year, for the first time, we had higher dollar sales of notebooks vs. desktops," says Robert Enochs, a ThinkPad product manager at Lenovo Group Ltd. IDC projects that by 2008 unit shipments of laptops will eclipse those of their beige-box cousins. Laptop use is being driven by changes in work habits as much as by advances in technology. And work habits are changing because wireless technology is breaking the link between location and connectivity. Increasingly, users expect to carry laptops with them on the road, at home and into meetings across campus, using wireless connections to facilitate collaboration as well as to keep up with e-mail. Wi-Fi is expanding the adoption of laptops at Kichler Lighting Group in Cleveland. "The ability to undock your laptop and take it from conference room to conference room without ever leaving the network is powerful," says director of infrastructure Mike Sink. Today's laptops are also more likely to make it through back-to-back meetings on a single charge, thanks to newer designs based on power-saving technologies such as Intel Corp.'s Pentium Mprocessor. "A typical notebook today will easily last you three to four hours, and in many cases five hours," says Steve Kleynhans, an analyst at Gartner Inc. <br />Wireless LANs make persistent connectivity possible and relieve users of the hassle of fiddling with wires and searching for a network jack. "It used to be that users needed [a laptop] to work from home. Now it's more of a mobility thing around the building," says Paul Melnyk, director of the business technology group at Alias Systems Inc., a developer of 3-D graphics software in Toronto. Thirty percent of Alias' employees use laptops today, including 90% of its business staff. Melnyk expects overall laptop use to jump to 70% in the next three years as the company's developers embrace laptops. "We have collaborative development spaces where people get together and does agile development work," Melnyk says. That collaborative model, which originated with software development, is spreading to other areas at Alias, he says. The price/performance gap between laptops and desktops has narrowed considerably, led by a rapid decline in the cost of LCD panels, which account for 60% to 70% of a notebook's cost, according to Forrester Research Inc. Some low-end laptops now sell for well under $600. Forrester predicts that display costs will continue their fall through 2005. <br />Although the price gap has narrowed, desktops are still cheaper, especially for high-performance needs. Dell Inc. Vice President of Marketing Tim Mattox says the premium for laptops is about $300 to $500. However, laptop performance has improved to the point where a modestly priced unit has more than enough power to run typical office applications, says Cara Jiles, director of end-user experience at Cerner Corp. in Kansas City, Mo. "Even a low-end laptop is sufficient for most workers," she says. Two years ago, the health care automation technology vendor decided to move entirely to laptops. Now some 95% of Cerner's 6,200 employees use them. Sink says the cost difference is still significant. He pays about $800 for a typical desktop PC with a 3-GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and a fast hard drive, excluding the monitor. A comparable ThinkPad laptop costs about $1,500. But the bottom-line difference isn't enough to dissuade him from buying laptops. "It's worth paying the premium for the mobility," he says. Meanwhile, new workstation-class laptops are starting to gain acceptance in areas such as software development and computer-aided design. At Alias, Dell Precision M60 mobile workstations offer both performance and mobility. The machines support up to 2GB of RAM, a 128MB graphics card and a 15.4-in., 1,600-by-1,400-pixel UXGA screen that offers a wide viewing angle. Hewlett-Packard Co. and Lenovo have similar offerings. While most developers at Alias are still using desktops, Melnyk expects that to change as the group moves more heavily into collaborative development. <br />At Cerner, programmers have already made the transition. "For developers, it wasn't the power that was important; it was the disk speed," says Jiles. The availability of 7,200-rpm disk drives leveled the playing field, offering I/O comparable to that on desktops. Designers at Kichler Lighting are taking advantage of the improved displays. "They can take [the laptops] home with them and view AutoCAD drawings," says Sink. The wide viewing angle of the screens is also helpful in meetings. "We have a lot of collaborative projects, and we have wireless throughout the building. People find it much easier to bring laptops with them," he says. Today, about 35% of Kichler's computers are laptops, and Sink says that number is steadily increasing. For most users, the power is adequate. <br />Difference in performance," Sink says. Alias doesn't see its developers running builds on laptops, however. "Currently, it's mainly an adjunct to the desktop," Melnyk says. In the future, he says, code will be checked out to developers for use on laptops and then checked back in for compiling on back-end cluster servers. Laptop reliability has also improved. Cases, hinges and keyboards are more durable than they were in the past, vendors claim, while shock-resistant hard disk drives have made disk crashes less common. "The ability to knock them around a little bit more has improved," says Melnyk. His organization now keeps laptops for four to five years. "The units are just that good," he says. <br />Limits of Mobility Despite the advantages, laptops don't fit everywhere and are unlikely to replace PCs entirely, IT professionals say. Administrative assistants call center staffers and others who work from a fixed location and don't need to travel or telecommute are likely to remain on desktops. Roger Kay, an analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates Inc. in Wayland, Mass., says he thinks 30% of the typical organization's employees are probably "bedrock desktop" users who need extra power or don't need mobility. In some industries, such as financial services, security concerns may dictate against the use of laptops, which can be lost or stolen, Kay says. Polcari says Harvard Pilgrim has reached the saturation point for laptops, barring a change in the way it does business. That might just be in the cards. He says his company has bandied about the idea of moving to a telecommuting model for more than 600 staffers who handle claims adjudication and customer service functions. No decision has been made, but, he adds, "if that changed, [laptop use] would be at 90% or 95%." At Sebaly Shillito & Dyer LPA in Dayton, Ohio, lawyers and paralegals are already on laptops, and less-mobile legal assistants and secretaries will be soon, says Brian Clayton, manager of the information systems group. Laptops allow support staffers to easily move from office to office to provide vacation coverage or to help with a project, he says. As laptop use grows, the security implications also become more prominent. "Companies that are aggressive with notebooks are stepping back a bit because of concerns over security issues," says Gartner's Kleynhans. Clayton says his firm is looking into new HP notebooks with encryption and biometric authentication technology. The HP security system stores password data in the BIOS for added security. "It doesn't even let the drive spin up until the code is entered," he says. <br />Managing laptops is another potential problem. "Notebooks pose a whole bunch of challenges for the IT group. It's more expensive to manage something that moves around," Kleynhans says. But Jiles says notebooks are also easier to issue because there are fewer components to install. At Cerner, she says, "we turn around 2,000 PCs every two years, so the less you have to handle, the easier it becomes." Regardless of the challenges, users agree that there's no going back. "Our culture would not be as strong as it is today if it were not for the mobility that laptops allow," says Jiles. At Harvard Pilgrim, the presumption of mobility has changed how people go about doing their jobs. "Laptops have become part of the business landscape," Polcari says. "They are now a strategic platform."<br />The impact of declining desktop and laptop demand on the PC industry became that much clearer this morning, as Microsoft reported lower-than-expected second-quarter earningsdriven, in part, by a deterioration of its client PC business (sever software sales are flat) and said it would cut 5,000 jobs. The crappy economy is kicking the desktop PC industry while it’s down. The desktop has been suffering ever since laptops and accessible wireless connectivity started making mobile computing productive even laptops are seeing their fortunes fall as low-cost net books gain an audience.<br />Recent Research<br /> “Client revenue declined 8 percent as a result of PC market weakness and a continued shift to lower-priced netbooks,” Microsoft said in its press release. Indeed, financial insecurity has consumers not only questioning the need for any new computer, but gravitating toward less expensive options, such as netbooks. Analysts are closely watching to see how sales of Intel’s Atom chip for netbooks affects its higher-margin, full-performance chip business as well. While many of the same hardware players build or make components for netbooks, margins on such products aregenerally lower and cannibalize sales of more powerful machines.<br />Intel reported a 90 percent drop in profits last week and with its fiscal first-quarter results, may end up reporting a loss for the first time in 22 years. It’s laying off between 5,000 and 6,000 people as it shutters manufacturing operations to match production with demand. Nvidia expects its sales to drop by 40-50 percent on low PC demand, and AMD is expected to post a bigger fourth-quarter loss than the year before. The bright spot so far is Apple, which yesterday reported earnings growth of 4 percent despite desktop revenues falling 31 percent year over year.<br />Apple has embraced the mobile computing trend with a line of laptops and its iPhone; it’s also emphasized peripherals with new displays. So far, peripheral items make up almost 4 percent of Apple’s sales. Research firm Technology Business Research notes:<br />Desktop revenue growth was affected by tightened school district budgets, and spectacular sales in the year-ago quarter, but the main reason for the decrease, TBR believes, is the decline of the desktop PC, especially in the consumer market. Apple signaled the new configuration when it introduced a new display along with its new MacBooks. TBR believes the combination of a stationary display, keyboard and mouse with a mobile PC is the ideal configuration for many users.<br />Desktop sales are being buoyed by processing-heavy applications, primarily video game playing, and editing and viewing HD and 3D video and graphics, as the market grows for devices that capture HD and 3D videos and still images. However, despite this fillip, desktop PC sales will continue to fall in real terms over the next five years, from 32 per cent of PC unit sales in 2010, to 18 per cent by 2015.<br />“The ‘death of desktops’ claim is wildly overstated,” says the report’s author, Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps. “Seventy-two per cent of US consumers still use desktops, especially in a study or living room – in a multi-PC household, not every computer needs to be portable, and the all-in-one desktop offers consumers a space-efficient option. And desktops still offer more processing power-per-price.”<br />This is more than a hunch; a grim future is borne out by the numbers. A week ago, iSuppli issued a broad report on the state of the PC industry. The leading claim was predictable: The PC industry was experiencing lower-than-expected quarterly sales—down about 8% from the same time last year. This included laptops, and made sense, because the whole economy's gone to hell, right? People aren't buying computers.<br />Except that's not quite what's happening. In the same period, laptop shipments—already higher than desktop shipments on the whole—grew 10% over last year. Desktops were entirely to blame, dropping by an astounding 23%. That's not decline—it's free fall. Stephen Baker, an analyst for industry watchers NPD, shared with me a wider picture of how retail PC sales break down. The way he put it made measuring the rise and fall of sales percentages seem dumb—there really aren't any sales to lose: "In US retail, 80% of sales are notebooks now," he said. "Start throwing in stuff like iMacs and all-in-ones"—which share more hardware DNA with laptops and netbooks than traditional desktops—"and it gets even higher."<br /><ul><li>Decline stage</li></ul>Throughout the computer industry, companies of all sizes, from garage start ups to Microsoft are bracing for the possibility that will be in the hands of people like Sean Whetstone. The head of the computer operations for REED Specialist Recruitment, an employment service with operations on 3 contents, Whetstone recently upgraded his companies 6000 desktop computers. Chief information officers order new Dells or HPs all the time, but the computers Whetstone brought in for his employees aren’t the traditional metal boxes that sit next to desks or under monitors. They are virtual computers. Each employee has a keyboard and a screen but the processes making the calculations and deciding what color goes in each pixel are far away, inside a big computer at REEDs Main Data centre in London.<br /> In the science fiction Staple of Virtual Reality, People live not in the real world but as Ciphers inside a computer somewhere. That’s analogous to what happens with the virtual desktops at REED. To the user Microsoft windows look just as it does coming from a PC. But the electronic desktop doesn’t exactly reside on the desk. <br /> Switching to virtual desktops is often expensive at the outset because the networking software is complicated but the maintenance costs are a lot lower. When something goes wrong, Whetstone does not need to send someone from tech support out to the employees desk. Instead, a technician simply logs on to the main computer and tinkers with the program running there. Whetstone expects to save 20% or $2.4 million a year, of his technology expenses.<br /> Desktop Virtualization however threatens to break that pattern. Instead of spending $1000 for a system with the latest Intel Chip and a fast hard drive, a company might get buy with a virtualized PC running on a screen, keyboard and network connector costing in all only $150. The corporate customer gets the promise of lower support costs plus security and simplicity that come from having data in one careful guarded place. By the end of 2010, estimates Gartener, half of all server based computing will be on Virtual machines. <br />Tarkan Maner, Wyse’s Voluble, Turkish born Chief Executive, tells visitors that because of virtualization the PC is dead and the PC makers are going to have to adjust their business models to deal with that fact. <br /> A shift to the virtualized desktops would affect everyone in the industry, not just the companies making the software that directly allows it. Every large tech company stands ready with new products, new services, new technology directions, in case it takes off. At HP, Virtualization products were once considered Niche offerings handled by a small, dedicated sales group.<br />For the first time since the Dot-Com bust of 2001, the global PC market will suffer a contraction in unit shipments in 2009, due to a combination of falling IT spending and plunging sales of desktop computers, iSuppli Corp. predicts.<br />Global PC shipments are expected to decline to 287.3 million units in 2009, down 4 percent from 299.2 million in 2008. iSuppli previously forecasted 0.7 percent growth in PC shipments for the year.<br />“An annual decline in unit shipments is highly unusual in the PC market,” observed Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms for iSuppli. “Even in weak years, PC unit shipments typically rise by single-digit percentages. The last decline—in 2001—was a 5.1 decrease in unit shipments due to the extraordinary impact of the Dot-Com bust, which caused inflated IT spending levels from the previous years to collapse.”<br />The primary factor driving the decline in the PC market in 2009 is an expected 18.1 percent plunge in desktop shipments. Unit shipments of desktop PCs will amount to 124.4 million in 2009, down from 151.9 million in 2008. Entry-level servers—which iSuppli includes in its definition of PCs—also will suffer a decline, with shipments falling to 6.9 million units, down 9.5 percent from 7.7 million in 2008.<br />In contrast, notebook PC shipments in 2009 will rise by 11.7 percent to reach 155.97 million units, up from 139.6 million in 2008. Notebook PC shipments will exceed those of desktops on an annual basis for the first time ever in 2009.<br />“Mobility is winning out in the PC market,” Wilkins said. “Businesses and consumers continue to embrace notebooks PCs because of the benefits of mobility and the near-equal performance and feature set. This is cutting into desktop PC shipments.” Meanwhile, enterprise spending on IT technology is hurting PC sales.<br />“Tight budgets are putting the squeeze on corporate IT spending,” Wilkins said. “This is hitting desktop and server sales particularly hard.”<br />Rocky BottomWhile iSuppli is currently correlating its data for second-quarter 2009 PC shipments, iSuppli’s forecast for the second quarter calls for flat shipments rising a scant 0.1 percent to reach 66.54 million units, up from 66.45 million in the first quarter. In the third and fourth quarters, shipments are expected to rise sequentially by 11 and 8.9 percent, respectively.<br />“Although our expectation is for shipments to rise vigorously in the third quarter on a sequential basis, conditions remain weak compared to 2008.”<br />Shipments in the third quarter will be down 6.5 percent compared to the same period in 2008. However, in the fourth quarter, shipments will rise by 3.6 percent compared to a year earlier. This trend will continue in 2010, with shipments rising on a year-over-year basis during every quarter of the year. For all of 2010, global PC shipments will rise by 4.7 percent from 2009.<br />Conventional wisdom hold that the desktop computer is no longer the computing platform of choice for consumers: sure, businesses, gamers, and creative professionals have needs for those big chunky cases, but for years everyday computer users have been putting their money into smaller and more-portable systems ranging from conventional notebook computers to notebooks, MIDS, and even Smartphone’s. However, according to market research firm NPD, desktop computer sale surged in February, up 30 percent compared to February of 2009. And what’s more, February marks the third month in the last four months that revenue from desktop computer sales group faster than that for notebook computers.<br />“Desktops have been the surprise consumer technology growth category of 2010,” said NPD VP of industry analysis Stephen Baker, in a statement. “Windows 7 has been propelling the PC side of the market where desktop ASPs [Average Sale Prices] have been higher than notebook/netbook ASPs in three of the last four months. We are also seeing tremendous growth numbers from the iMac after a few lackluster quarters from Apple.”<br />In the four months since the official launch of WIndows 7, NPD says sales of Windows-based desktop systems have grown 15 percent in terms of units, and 8 percent in terms of revenue. That might not seem like much, but consider that NPD saw sales of Windows-based desktop PCs decline in 21 of the 22 months leading up to the introduction of Windows 7 Desktop PCs have been in decline for a decade, and countless people have said their piece about it. But new evidence suggests the desktop tower's death spiral is underway—and we're not too broken up about it.<br />I say this as a guy who was baptized into the tech world with a desktop; who still obsessively follows the latest PC components from Intel, Nvidia, ATI and the like; who has built, fixed or upgraded more towers than I care to remember; and who, until a few years ago, was an avid PC gamer. As someone who would be, by most measures, a desktop-PC kinda guy, I just can't go on pretending there's a future for them.<br />The Buyer's DilemmaTo understand why this is happening doesn't take anything more than a little empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of any number of potential consumers, be it kids, adults, techies, or luddites. In virtually any scenario, a laptop is the sensible buy.<br />Despite spending three decades in front of commercial jet instrument panels, people’s relationship with computers is, at best, strained. When they came asking for advice about a laptop to replace their desktops, it could be assumed to be a whim, based on what they saee happening around them. Someone who uses a computer mostly for news, email, music, etc—like a significant part of the population is actually being intensely rational. A laptop would do everything they need simply and wirelessly, with a negligible price difference from a functionally equivalent desktop. If they want a monitor, keyboard and mouse, they can just attach them. Choosing a desktop PC wouldn't just be a not-quite-as-good choice—it'd be a bad one.<br />The fall of the Gaming PCBut to say that the average user doesn't have any reason to buy a hulking beige box isn't that controversial and even borders on obvious. The real, emotional, diehard support for the form factor is going to be found elsewhere anyway. I mean, hey, what about gamers? Have you ever tried to playCrysis on an Inspiron? Let's jump back to the numbers. Last year saw a huge 26% increase in game sales across platforms, powered mostly by Xbox 360, Wii and Nintendo DS sales, according to NPD. Breaking that number down, we see PC game sales down by 14%. That decrease barely even registered in the broader scheme of things, since total PC game sales amounted to just $700m of the industry's $11b take. This year is looking even worse. You know what, let's just call this one too: PC gaming? Also dead. Update: Luke at Kotaku points out that NPD's numbers only cover retail game sales, where PC gaming is hurting the most. Due mostly to MMOs—hardly the exclusive domain of desktops—the PC gaming industry take is actually higher.<br />As the laptop is to my old man, the console is to the gamer. Just a few years ago, buying—or just as likely, building—a high-end gaming PC granted you access to a rich, unique section of the gaming world. Dropping a pile of cash for ATI's Radeon 9800 to get that precious 128MB of VRAM was damn well worth it, since there was no other way to play your Half Life 2 and your Doom 3. PC titles were often demonstrably better than console games, and practically owned the concept of multiplayer gaming—a situation that's changed, or even reversed, since all the major consoles now live online. We even spotted a prominent PC magazine editor (and friend of Giz) copping on Twitter to buying an Xbox game because it has multiplayer features the PC version doesn't. Yes, things are different now.<br />NPD's Baker sees it too: "Go back two years ago and think about all the buzz that someone like Falcon or Alienware or Voodoo was generating, and how much buzz they generate now, that might be a little bit telling." He adds, "There's considerably less interest in high powered gaming machines." They're luxury items in every sense, from their limited utility to their ridiculous price to their extremely low sales.<br />A Form Factor on Life SupportBut no matter how irrational a choice the desktop tower is for the regular consumer, sales won't hit zero anytime soon. As we've hinted, much of this can be explained by simple niche markets: Some businesses will always need powerful workstations; older folks will feel comfortable with a familiar form factor; some people will want a tower as a central file or media server; DIY types will insist on the economy and environmental benefit of desktop's upgradeability; and a core contingent of diehard PC gamers, despite their drastically thinning ranks, will keep on building their LED-riddled, liquid-cooled megatowers until the day they die.<br />Baker sees another factor—less organic, more cynical—that'll keep the numbers from bottoming too hard. "Desktops are a lot more profitable than notebooks for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that big shiny monitor, which has a nice margin attached to it. For the retailers, people tend to buy a lot more peripherals and accessories when they buy desktops than when they buy notebooks." Even if the volumes are ultra-low and concept is bankrupt, retailers are going to keep bloated, price-inflated desktops and desktop accessories out there on the sales floor until they've drained every last dollar out of them.<br />You'll see plenty of desktop towers for years to come, in megamarts if not in people's homes. You'll still hear news about the latest, greatest graphics cards, desktop processors and the like. Enthusiasts and fansites will stay as enthusiastic and fanatical as they've ever been. These, though, are lagging indicators, trailing behind a dead (or maybe more accurately, undead) computing ideal that the computer-using public has pretty much finished abandoning.<br />Conclusion:-<br />Price<br />Generally speaking, you’re going to pay more for a laptop than a comparable desktop computer. Smaller components are more expensive and you will see that reflected in your price. If your family utilizes the computer mainly for word processing and internet use, a laptop might be a practical choice. However, video games, video editing and even desktop publishing require additional memory, storage and possibly high-end video and sound cards. Each of these will increase the cost and the weight of the machine.<br />Portability<br />Laptops are obviously more portable than desktops, so the more important question is whether or not your family needs portability. If you don’t have a dedicated space in your home for the computer, or if family members will want to use the computer in different rooms, a laptop is an ideal option. If you plan to move the computer infrequently, a desktop is a better buy for your money.<br />Upgrades/Repair<br />Although there are some things that can be upgraded/replaced in a laptop, it is just not as easy to keep up-to-date and in good repair as a desktop machine. This may or may not be a concern for your family. As desktop prices come down, it may actually be more cost effective to purchase a new computer, rather than trying to keep an older machine current. That said, if your laptop screen cracks or someone spills juice on the keyboard, it’s much more serious than similar damage on a desktop. If your household has young children, this is certainly something to keep in mind.<br />Ergonomics<br />Ergonomics refers to the design of a workspace so that it allows for a comfortable and safe experience for the user. In this case, there are specific attributes a computer workstation should have in order to minimize strain on the eyes, neck/back, wrists/hands, etc. Although it is possible to set a laptop up in such a way to be ergonomically sound, people rarely do so. It would involve, at the very least, an additional keyboard and a stationary workstation, which might defeat the purpose of having a laptop in your home.<br />Space<br />Desktop computers are getting smaller and smaller, while laptops get bigger. Still, a laptop will require a smaller footprint in your home. You can even tuck it away when you need more free counter or table space. When free space is at a premium, a laptop is a great option. As you can see, the choice between a laptop and a desktop is specific to your household. There is no one right answer. However, using this guide will help you think through the lifestyle of your family and help you come to a solid decision.<br />Advantage and disadvantage of the Laptop.<br />The main advantage of the laptop is definitely its portability. You can put it into your bag and carry it everywhere. Besides, it has internal power source, i.e. you are not restricted to one place.<br />Since the introduction of wireless broadband, you do not even need a fixed line connection. The laptop can be taken in the office, in bed, on vacation. The drawback that the size has is that the display screens on laptop are usually only 15 inches (17” max). Another disadvantage of the laptops is that they haven’t got enough room for internal fans to cool the main CPU. With the creation of the dual-core CPU laptops can be expected to suffer failures because of overheating most often.<br />Advantage and disadvantage of the Desktop.<br />Apart from the convenient size and portability, laptops and notebooks have some other significant characteristics which may make you prefer them to towers. First comes the power supply. Desktop computers always have to be plugged into an AC Power outlet. In contrast to them, laptops are equipped with a rechargeable lithium, nickel-cadmium, or nickel-metal hydride battery, which adds to the advantage of portability.<br />Laptop displays are very different from those of desktops since they make use of LCD technology, not a picture-tube. The displays of notebooks are smaller and usually have lower screen resolution but offer better color quality.<br />The integration of input devices also makes a difference when you compare laptop versus desktop computer. The keyboard, you’ll use with a notebook, is situated into the body of the machine. This again contributes to portability but a damaged keyboard can be quite a problem. In fact, the main purposes for which desktop computers and laptops are created are different. Many business people really need to possess a notebook.<br />The major inconvenience with towers is that they are situated at a defined workplace. One benefit certainly is that you can choose the size of the display screen. Moreover, you are free to add whatever extras you want, such as a speaker sound system, a joint printer/fax/copier scanner, a digital camera, DVD system.<br />Another essential feature of a tower is that it is easy to upgrade. Laptops can be upgraded only by an expert, although there is not much space to add more components. On the contrary, you don’t need any expertise to upgrade a tower.<br />Finally, having considered the most important features of both laptops vs towers statistics and having assessed their advantages and disadvantages, you can choose the one that will suit your needs and requirements best. However this will not put an end to the debate about laptop versus desktop.<br />